Expandmenu Shrunk


  • Tag Archives sales funnel
  • What It Takes to be #1 in Sales

    My first sales experience came while I was studying psychology at the University of Tennessee. I had to work my way through school, and I knew the best way was to work hard all summer so that I could focus on my classes the rest of the year. That meant I needed a job that would pay well for three months of hard work. That is when I found The Southwestern Company. They train college students to sell books door-to-door on straight commission. I had very little selling experience, and up until then, playing football was all that I knew. Because I have a competitive nature and a passion for learning new things, I ended up selling books door-to-door for four summers. It was an extraordinary experience. I was working more than eighty hours a week and must have knocked on some twenty-five hundred doors per summer. The training at Southwestern is unmatched. After one week of intensive training they took me, an inexperienced college football player, and turned me into a selling machine! After my first summer, I finished number one out of twenty-five hundred other first-year dealers. At the end of my second summer, I earned a commission check for $46,000—not a bad summer’s earnings for a sophomore in college. On one of the last days of that second summer, an experienced dealer shadowed me. He told me, “If you ever figure out what you are doing, you will break the company record.” That comment dumbfounded me. I was already a top producer for the company, and was essentially being told that I didn’t know what I was doing!

    That was also the first time the thought entered my mind that maybe I could break Southwestern’s 154-year-old sales record. So the following year, I studied the psychology of sales: unconditional confidence, social pressure, neurolinguistic programming, and the four different buying behavior styles. I was so intrigued by all of the topics that I started to convert the principles we were being taught at the University of Tennessee and funneling them through a sales-minded filter.

    My first mission was to figure out my behavior style. I took DISC, Myers-Briggs, and all the other personality profile tests I could find. They were all awesome tests that taught me a lot about myself and my personality, but something was still missing. In order to sell to other personalities, I needed to be able to make the transition from “who I was” to “how I was” selling.

    Then in the spring of 2004, I attended a class in Nashville, Tennessee, at Southwestern’s headquarters, called Selling Like a Chameleon, (a class offered by Southwestern that taught the importance of adapting to different personalities to maximize sales) and my sales career was changed forever. The program not only identified different buying behavior styles, but it taught me how to adapt my selling style to best match the customer’s buying behavior style.

    The next year I went out with the goal of breaking the company record. That meant more than doubling my production from the prior year. The way to reach my goal was by following the principles learned in the Selling Like a Chameleon class and the principles found in this book. My slight edge for that summer was in my initial contact, the way I approached the buyer. Unlike the previous summers, during my third summer at Southwestern, I tailored my selling style to best match the buyer’s behavior styles. During the previous two summers my sales approach had appealed only to people who were like me, so I was connecting with only one-quarter of my prospects. My first two summers, I treated everyone I approached as if he or she were an extroverted entertainer, which is my selling behavior style. I was successful those first two summers in large part because “birds of a feather flock together.” The prospects who let me in were extroverts; and they referred me to their friends, who were extroverts; and they referred me to their friends, who were extroverts. You get the picture. However, there are only so many of one type of behavior style in a city. I frequently would run into someone of a different behavior style, and, in those instances, my standard selling M.O. (modus operandi) would not work.

    When I ran into people with aggressive behavior styles and used the same words I was using with the extroverted people, they were slamming the door in my face! At first I thought it was a problem with them, but after studying the psychology of behavior styles and going through the Selling Like a Chameleon course, I came to realize it was a problem with me. After adopting the Selling Like a Chameleon approach, my production doubled! As a junior in college, I earned more than $100,000 in fourteen weeks!

    In my new book, you will learn the method and application of the Navigate system, how it has affected other people’s personal production, and how it has made a huge difference in the way they communicate and ask for business. There are four basic buying behavior styles that you need to know in order to be more effective at closing the deal. This book outlines those four buying behavior styles and shows you how to identify the buying styles in you, others, and how to adapt your selling style to best fit the buying style of your customer. Being aware of the different buying behavior styles and knowing how to identify and adapt to the different kinds of decision-makers is key to getting a person to like you and trust you. Whether you are attempting to set up an appointment, close a deal, or just want someone to hear what you have to say, the Navigate system will help you communicate better and connect with people for the rest of your life!

    Now go out and try to break YOUR record! We would love to hear about your successes, so please post comments below.

    Dustin Hillis

    Co-Founder Southwestern Consulting™


  • Getting Your Prospect’s Attention Over the Phone

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific

                – Measurable

                – Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

                –  Generalized

                – “Companies in your city…”

                 – “Other groups in your industry…”

                   – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

     – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.

     

    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)     

    “Last week…”

    “Recently…”

    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:

    Voicemail

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

     Ron Marks